Yankee Grey

Untamed

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In 1997, Monument Records (a Sony imprint) took a chance on a female country trio who played their own instruments and wrote some of their own material in a frisky style that brought back some real country to the then-pop-oriented genre. That was the Dixie Chicks, and it was as good as printing your own money. Alongside the Chicks' second album comes another roll of the dice by Monument, this time with a male sextet that writes most of its own songs and plays its own instruments on its self-titled debut album. And though lightning probably won't strike twice, Yankee Grey is another winner for the label, as the fast-charting first single "All Things Considered" instantly makes clear. This is a band that fought its way out of the Cincinnati bar scene, and it still has a lot of bar band in it, as its members play like they're trying to grab your attention over the noise. Singer and main songwriter Tim Hunt has a solid voice, and he knows his way around the kind of gently ironic, lyric Nashville loves, from the declaration of love "That Would Be Me" to the hit-single-in-waiting "I Should've Listened to Me." The music is a mixture of country, rock, and pop, with different elements dominating at different times. (You figure that at the bar they could cover everything from Lynyrd Skynyrd to George Jones.) The result rocks harder than Alabama, but is smoother than the Kentucky Headhunters, and there just may be a niche waiting for a band that sounds like that.

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